Are you chronically annoyed by the inequality in your household? Are you both earning and only you are doing the housework? If you are ready to learn how to get your husband (or wife…this happens too!) to do his share of the household chores, read on.
Don’t just grin and bear it.
If you are chronically resentful, you may take it out on him when he least expects it. Take the opportunity to improve your marriage and address this issue directly. Most men don’t want to upset their wives. He just may not know any better.
Assume he’s oblivious.
He is not deliberately and maliciously ignoring the obvious. Housework is just not on his radar. If he’s of a certain age, he may be of the generation in which messes magically disappeared and clean clothes were always neatly folded in the drawer. If he had one of those kinds of moms, he is not accustomed to noticing that things need to be done. You have to train him.
Give him simple, complete instructions.
When I explained to my husband that the point of emptying the dishwasher was to allow for more dishes going into it right away, he understood that he should empty it before he left the house (true story). I also suggest limiting your requests to three or fewer at a time. He’ll likely succeed, so you can keep building his
Repetition is the mother of skill.
The broken record technique: repeat a request multiple times like a record stuck in a groove. No nagging, no malice, just the gentle reminder over and over until it becomes a habit: “Honey, remember to take the trash out when you leave today!” Eventually it will sink in. When it does,
Praise him lavishly.
I know. You don’t expect praise when you just handle things. Unloading the dishwasher should not earn a Nobel Prize. Well, if he has opened his perception to take in what is obvious to you and new to him, make a fuss. Everybody likes to be appreciated.
Appeal to logic.
Once, in desperation, I pointed out that we are each responsible for the same contribution to the household budget. Since we both have to earn the same amount, we both have to work equally. Logic dictates we should have domestic equality as well. When I suggested to my spouse that he could buy out his half by paying for a house cleaner, he got motivated.
Park in his t.v. chair and look busy.
This was an accidental discovery, and remarkably effective. My husband comes home from a long day at work and heads directly to his favorite spot on the sofa to watch television. One day he came home and I was parked there. My work was all spread out, and I explained apologetically that I had just started. After thumbing through a book for a few minutes, he migrated to the kitchen. Soon I heard the delightful sounds of cleanup happening. It’s amazing what a man can accomplish when he’s bored!
Hold onto your sense of humor and remember why you married him.
His housework allergy surely is compensated for by other qualities. Remember why you love him, and don’t give up! Nagging won’t work, but patience and a sense of humor will.
More from Elizabeth Danu:
How I Approach Tough Topics With My Teenagers
What To Do for Your Child’s Growing Pains
A Day in the Life of a Hospital Massage Therapist